Within the UCU Days, there was held an event entitled: “Military and business leadership: things in common or what businessmen and servicemen can learn from each other.” The event consisted of two parts: presentation of the results of the study conducted by the Center for Leadership of UCU and discussion on leadership, things civil and military leaders have in common, and leaders’ personal well-being.

In 2019, the Center for Leadership of UCU completed the joint Ukrainian-Canadian study entitled “The role of leader’s character in moderation of the negative relation between leadership context hostility and leader subjective wellbeing.” In general, 136 military and 125 business leaders participated in the study. One of the key tasks was to compare the virtues of character (according to the “Leadership based on Character” framework, Ivey Business School) both civil and military leaders have.

The results of the study were presented by Andrew Rozhdestvensky, CEO of the Center for Leadership of UCU. The received results have shown that:

  • the leaders of the Ukrainian military forces felt ineffective when operating in the old post-Soviet organizational culture. In that culture, even the high-rank officers must blindly follow an order they disagree with and have no opportunity to voice their opinions;
  • if the virtues of leadership character are well-developed, the subjective well-being of true leaders is not affected by the leadership context; and vice versa — if those virtues are underdeveloped, the negative context greatly affects the subjective wellbeing of leaders;
  • the negative impact of context on servicemen has mainly affected their social wellbeing (personality-context), but not a psychological or an emotional one.

There was a highly interesting and lively discussion between our guestsNataliia Kalmykova (Adviser to the Commander of the Ground Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on gender issues, former deputy director of the “Come Back Alive” foundation), Serhii Lesniak (translator, co-founder of the “Aistra” company, LvBS lecturer) and Serhii Sobko (Head of the Department of the Territorial Defense Commanders Training of the Ukrainian Ground Forces Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Hero of Ukraine). The discussion was moderated by Andrew Rozhdestvensky.

We would like to share some ideas voiced by our speakers:

Nataliia Kalmykova

  • A leader is a person who takes responsibility and influences people around him/her. And it is important how he/she does it.
  • Leadership is about the ability to trust your subordinates, allow them to make mistakes, and give them a piece of advice when they ask you for this, as well as the ability to guide — to be a coach, an assistant.
  • What businesses can learn from the army is the VUCA-world in its purest form. The servicemen, unlike the civilians, can quickly change the movement vector and make new decisions in case new circumstances arise.

Serhii Lesniak

  • According to Sun Tzu, the leader should find a common denominator for the whole army, so that it could work as a single mechanism.
  • The Sun Tzu’s army is a smart army, in which everyone knows how to work in tune with the leader’s thoughts. However, there are cases when smart leaders do not share all the details even with the closest officers — they have a strategic plan, which is not fully disclosed to anyone.

Serhii Sobko

  • The success of any organization, unit, military base, etc. depends directly on its leader, leadership. This person is responsible for any result, or its absence. It is better to have a thousand sheep led by a lion than a thousand lions led by a sheep.
  • Leadership can open up multiple opportunities or vice versa.
  • If you achieve the goals but, in the process, you devastate your team and do not develop the people, it means that you are not a good leader. Everything should be combined. You should both get the results and develop the people.

The recording of this event will be available soon on the website and the Facebook page of the Center for Leadership of UCU. Follow the news.